FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HCAF 2012 EXPANDS art installation offerings; adds 16mm programming
4411 Montrose to Serve as Festival and Exhibitions Headquarters
HOUSTON – After surprising and delighting audiences at sites all over Houston last year, the Houston Cinema Arts Festival’s (HCAF) Cinema on the Verge – presented by Houston First Corporation – section of interactive media installations will return in greatly expanded form in 2012. This year the Cinema on the Verge gallery with six media installations will be sited in the modern, mixed-use building at 4411 Montrose, which will also serve as HCAF Headquarters from Nov. 2-11, 2012. Also at 4411 Montrose, HCAF will house its new CINEMA 16 SCREENING ROOM, featuring a series of experimental film programs from Nov. 8-11, 2012 made in glorious 16-millimeter film. That series will launch on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 4:45 p.m. with a meet-up at The Andy Monument outside of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), where CAMH director Bill Arning will talk about Rob Pruitt’s sculpture of Andy Warhol, which is on temporary loan to CAMH.
According to Richard Herskowitz, Artistic Director of Houston Cinema Arts Festival, “Our ‘Cinema on the Verge’ section features artists who make films both for theatrical exhibition and for interactive engagement in a gallery setting. At 4411 Montrose, with its intimate screening room and media installation gallery, we think that visitors will get a glimpse of the future of movie going.”
The CINEMA ON THE VERGE gallery at 4411 Montrose costs $5.00 (or free with Cinema 16 Screening Room ticket) and will include the following installations during Nov. 3-11, 2012:
AMERICAN FALLS by Phil Solomon
American Falls is a new multimedia installation by acclaimed experimental filmmaker Phil Solomon, originally commissioned by the Corcoran Museum in Washington. Inspired by Frederic Edwin Church’s 1857 oil painting masterpiece Niagara, AMERICAN FALLS explores the aspirations and struggles that lie at the heart of the American Dream. Three digital projections depict Niagara Falls cascading down the walls. Gradually, scenes ranging from everyday life to major figures and events that shaped American history and cinema dissolve in and out of the waters. Solomon’s innovative use of altered film emulsion transforms Niagara Falls into a metaphoric landscape. Solomon’s films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art; the New York Film Festival; the Sundance Film Festival; the Whitney Biennial; and at many other prestigious national and international venues.
DIALOG by the Light Surgeons
Dialog is an art installation by Christopher Thomas Allen, founder and director of The Light Surgeons. Originally created as part of the Articulated Exhibition at London’s OXO Tower in 2006, it has since toured internationally to major galleries and art biennales. In the installation, a series of arguments and word association games are taking place between two computer terminals that are placed inside an ordinary office space setting. The original audio recordings were made during a series of debates that Allen held in London and the images that appear on the computer screens have been selected using an Internet search engine in relation to each word spoken. The images form a visual cacophony and create a surreal narrative of their own, abstracting the disembodied speakers. In addition to this installation, The Light Surgeons SUPEREVERYTHING* will have its US debut as HCAF’s main live cinema event on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10, at 7:30 p.m.The project, a kaleidoscopic view of the cultural landscape of Malaysia, will be presented at Houston’s newest arts and culture center, Asia Society Texas Center, and cosponsored with the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
MEDUSA SMACK by Vanessa Renwick
In MEDUSA SMACK, viewers lie on soft pillows beneath a large jellyfish-shaped screen on which images of Pacific sea nettles and moon jellyfish in an aquarium are projected. Accompanying the video is a haunting, meditative soundtrack composed and performed by Tara Jane O’Neil. The score is partially comprised of sounds recorded by Harry Bertoia on his own Sonambient sound sculptures. Renwick works in experimental and poetic documentary forms. Her iconoclastic work reflects an interest in place, relationships between bodies and landscapes, and all sorts of borders.
NIGHT HUNTER HOUSE by Stacey Steers
Night Hunter House by Stacey Steers is an installation built to accompany the animated film NIGHT HUNTER, which was composed of more than four thousand collages that Steers completed over a four-year period. From the outside, the “dollhouse” is dark and Victorian in style. The rooms of the dollhouse are elaborate, filled with miniature furniture, tiny light fixtures, antique lace, bird eggs and, in each room, a small video screen playing a different loop from the film. The film incorporates images of silent film star Lillian Gish in Broken Blossoms and other silent classics, placing her in a nightmare world filled with snakes, giant moths, and pulsating eggs. Steers’s animated films have been screened at The Sundance Film Festival, “New Directors/New Films” (The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center), and numerous other festivals worldwide and have won national and international awards.
VIEWMASTER a digital mutoscope by George Griffin
With Viewmaster, George Griffin has created a new digital context for his classic 1976 animation that riffed on Eadweard Muybridge’s nineteenth-century motion studies. In Griffin’s conceptually concise work, eight characters including a naked man, an anthropomorphic blob, and a stick-figure restaurant waiter are rendered in discrete drawings. The characters appear to continuously run in place and simultaneously chase after one another. The digital mutoscope ironically presents a computer animation in a nineteenth-century format. Griffin, who lives and works in New York, has been a professional animator since 1968. His work has been shown at museums such as the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and The Museum of Modern Art.
CLAM BAKE by Joanna Priestley
Acclaimed independent filmmaker Joanna Priestley (the “Queen of Independent Animation,” according to Bill Plympton) created sixty animation sequences for this interactive work. It starts with a group of static turquoise clams, olive figure eights and a vermillion ball. As the participant opens the compositions, pointed twangers, zoetropes and other surprises appear, all of which lead to a wonderful animation at the end. Composer Seth Norman (Triage) created a rich score for Clam Bake, which escalates as elements come to life. Priestley has produced and directed 24 films, which have won awards at film festivals all over the world, including the New York, Sundance and Telluride Film Festivals, among many others.
CINEMA 16 SCREENING ROOM AT 4411 MONTROSE
As part of CINEMA ON THE VERGE, HCAF’s Cinema 16 Screening Room will feature nine film programs at 4411 Montrose from Nov. 8-11, 2012. According to Herskowitz, “The analog, non-digital medium of 16-millimeter film, with its glistening silver halide particles, has been the canvas of great experimental filmmakers, including, Andy Warhol and Stan Brakhage, whose works we will screen at CINEMA 16.” The screening series features 16-millimeter films as well as videos by several of the artists whose installation work is on display in the CINEMA ON THE VERGE gallery—Stacey Steers, Phil Solomon, and Vanessa Renwick.
The series will launch on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 4:45 p.m. with a meet-up at The Andy Monument outside of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), where CAMH director Bill Arning will talk about Rob Pruitt’s sculpture of Andy Warhol, which is on temporary loan to CAMH. Viewers will then march up Montrose to the Cinema 16 Screening Room at 4411 Montrose, where J.J. Murphy will present a program of Rare Warhol beginning at 5:30 p.m. Murphy is the author of The Black Hole of the Camera: The Films of Andy Warhol, and also the maker of a classic work of 16 millimeter experimental film, Print Generation, which he made in Houston while teaching here in the early 70s. A brand new print of Print Generation, recently restored by the Motion Picture Academy, will be screened with Murphy present on Sunday, Nov. 11.
On Friday, Nov. 9, Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, founders of Milestone Films, will present and lecture on their latest project, WHERE’S SHIRLEY? that tells the story of Milestone’s search for the original film materials to Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason, Clarke’s remarkable 1967 film about an African-American gay hustler. Later that day, and on Nov. 10 and 11, 2012, CINEMA ON THE VERGE installation artists Phil Solomon, Stacey Steers, and Vanessa Renwick will present programs of their 16 millimeter films and videos in the CINEMA 16 screening room. The final program will be a special presentation of experimental animation from the 25th Dallas VideoFest. VideoFest found Bart Weiss will present a marvelous selection of animated films from the recent festival including three atypical films from 2010 HCAF festival guest Bill Plympton, including his restoration of Winsor McKay’s THE FLYING HOUSE.
Cinema 16 Screening Room
RARE WARHOL with J.J. Murphy (Thurs, 11/8, 5:30pm)
WHERE’S SHIRLEY? With Dennis Doros and Amy Heller (Fri, 11/9, 1pm)
STACEY STEERS: NIGHT HUNTER AND OTHER ANIMATIONS (Fri, 11/9, 3pm)
PHIL SOLOMON: COLLABORATIONS WITH STAN BRAKHAGE (Fri, 11/9, 5pm)
MEET THE MAKERS: CINEMA ON THE VERGE PANEL (Sat, 11/10, 11am)
VANESSA RENWICK: THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF KICK ASS (Sat, 11/10, 1:30pm)
REMAINS TO BE SEEN: THE FILMS OF PHIL SOLOMON (Sat., 11/10, 4:00pm)
THE 16MM FILMS OF JJ MURPHY (Sun, 11/11, 2pm)
25TH DALLAS VIDEOFEST ANIMATION SHOW with Bart Weiss (Sun, 11/11, 4:15pm)
CINEMA ON THE VERGE SATELLITE EXHIBITIONS
Finally, CINEMA ON THE VERGE will also include two satellite exhibitions at locations around Houston, in partnership with Project Row Houses and Aurora Picture Show. Eve Sussman’s whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoirat Aurora Picture Show (2442 Bartlett Street) pushes the envelope of cinematic form. This experimental film noir is edited live in real time by a custom programmed computer called the “serendipity machine.” It delivers a changing narrative – culled from 3,000 clips, 80 voice-overs and 150 pieces of music – that runs forever and never plays the same way twice. Sussman will present and discuss the film on Friday, Nov. 9 at Aurora from 6:00-9:00 p.m., with artist’s talk and Q&A at 7:30 p.m. Viewers will be able to return to Aurora Picture Show and view the endless film on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10-11, from 12:00-4:00 p.m. Eve Sussman is a Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker who works independently and collectively with Rufus Corporation, an ad hoc “think tank” of performers, artists, musicians, writers and programmers. Sussman and Rufus Corporation’s work has been exhibited at the Reina Sofia, MoMA. The IFC Center, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and other museums, non-profit art spaces and festivals internationally.
Chris Johnson’s Question Bridge: Black Malesis a project that critically explores challenging issues within the Black male community by instigating a transmedia conversation among black men across the geographic, economic, generational, educational and social strata of American society. As part of Project Row Houses’ Round 37, Question Bridgewill occupy two of the Art Houses with the nationally acclaimed multimedia installation reconfigured especially for the Project Row Houses venue. Question Bridge will be on view Oct. 13, 2012 through March 3, 2013, with an artist’s talk by Chris Johnson on Friday, Nov. 9 at 1:00 p.m. Question Bridgehas been exhibited at the Sundance Film Festival, the Brooklyn Museum and other museums and galleries. Chris Johnson is a photographic and video artist, writer, curator and arts administrator. He authored The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography, is a full Professor of Photography at the California College of Arts and served as President of San Francisco Camerawork Gallery.
The fourth annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival is scheduled to take place from Nov. 7 – 11, 2012. Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a major program of Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS), capitalizes on the city’s status as an international art city, collaborating with many of Houston’s museums, art centers, theaters, and cultural institutions. Works are shown not only in traditional theatrical venues but also via interactive video installations, live music and film performances, and outdoor projections. Past festivals have featured guests such as Isabella Rossellini, Tilda Swinton, John Turturro, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Alex Gibney, and Shirley MacLaine. The 2011 festival drew tens of thousands of film enthusiasts and art lovers spread among over 40 screenings and events.
The 2012 event marks the debut of HCAF as a “walkable” film festival, centering on venues in Downtown Houston and the Museum District and featuring partners within easy access of the Metro Rail Red Line, such as Sundance Cinemas Houston, Hotel ICON, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and 4411 Montrose. A partner of HCAF for three years, Levantine Entertainment will once again host the Levantine Entertainment Cinema Arts Award, which was awarded to Isabella Rossellini in 2010 and to Ethan Hawke in 2011. Partners returning for the fourth year include Anadarko Petroleum, SharpEgg and MFAH Films. In its third year as a sponsor of HCAF is Champion Energy.
In addition to the art installations and films announced here, HCAF 2012 will announce its exciting roster of premieres, guest artists, and multimedia installations in the coming weeks. A current schedule is available on the HCAS website at http://cinemartsociety.org/cinema-artist-festival-houston. The complete program, including major new releases and special guests, will be unveiled on Oct. 23, 2012 at Hotel ICON, located at 220 Main Street in Downtown Houston.
Passes for single and multiple days are available on the HCAS website at http://cinemartsociety.org. The full program schedule and individual tickets to the 2012 Houston Cinema Arts Festival will be available on the HCAS website on Oct. 24, 2012.
ABOUT THE HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane. HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS sponsors include the Crane Foundation, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Levantine Entertainment, Houston First Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Champion Energy Services, Amegy Bank of Texas, The Brown Foundation, Inc. and others. The project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 2013 Houston Cinema Arts Festival was held Nov. 6-10. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org.